Denver Broncos budding star cornerback Patrick Surtain II met with the media this week and talked a lot about where his mindset is heading into his second season.
Like most rookies, Surtain spent most of his rookie season proverbially guzzling from the firehose to get up to speed in the NFL as rapidly as possible. He did and played damn well for a rookie, so where does that leave him heading into Year 2?
“[I’m] getting more comfortable around the players and developing into a leader this time around,” Surtain said. “[I] know the schemes and what to expect. [I’m] just getting more comfortable. The first year, I was getting my feet wet a little bit, but now I can see myself growing each and every day.
“I just want to build on consistency, technique, fundamentals and those sorts of things. I think I can improve on more film study, of course—recognizing offensive patterns and offensive concepts. [It’s about] slowing the game down a little bit in the second year.”
He already looked like a seasoned vet out there. He led all rookie cornerbacks allowing just a 69.7 passer rating to opposing quarterbacks and allowed over 60 yards in coverage just once all year.
Patrick Surtain II: 69.7 passer rating allowed in coverage this season— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) January 25, 2022
Lowest among rookie Cornerbacks pic.twitter.com/WRmwaEN0FZ
The one caveat to his growth could be how well he adjusts to new defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero. Fortunately, Surtain already feels like the scheme change is going to barely noticeable from Vic Fangio’s.
“Schematically, it’s essentially the same scheme we ran last year but he’s added his own twist and concepts to it,” Surtain said. “Other than that, he’s a very energetic coach and a very positive coach. He’s very enthused within the team and he’s locked in with the team. He’s very excited for this year, and I can tell just by the way he comes in the meeting rooms with all that energy. I’m just excited to work with him.”
Defensively, the Broncos were stout last season. That was one area that Fangio seemed to find a way to keep games close no matter who they had to plug in there due to injury. Maintaining that kind of defensive play is going to be huge now that Denver will potentially field a dangerous offensive scheme under new head coach Nathaniel Hackett and quarterback Russell Wilson.
There is certainly a lot to be excited about and Surtain is clearly feeling that excitement as well. It’s going to be a fun season!